When you’re sipping your favorite cup of delicious coffee (whether you had some brewed at home or had ordered a cup from your favorite coffee shop), did you ever wonder where these things go afterward? Well, turns out coffee grounds can still be quite useful. Besides having to use it as part of your skin and hair regimen or as a soil and garden supplement, you can also use these as food for your compost worms.
If you’ve been wondering if worms like coffee grounds, the answer may surprise you. There are actually a number of ways that your worm farm can benefit from a few grinds of used coffee grounds. Read on to learn how these organisms react to the presence of this interesting organic fertilizer!
Quick Recap: What Is Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting is an incredible process that transforms organic waste into a rich, nutrient-dense soil amendment, all with the help of tiny but mighty worms! These tiny creatures eat their way through a mixture of food scraps, leaves, and other organic materials, breaking them down and producing a rich compost that’s perfect for nurturing plants and flowers.
But that’s not all! Vermicomposting also helps reduce household waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and creates a sustainable way to care for the environment. It’s truly a win-win. With vermicomposting, you get to play a small but significant role in creating a greener world, all while reaping the rewards of lush and thriving plants.
So why wait? Get started on your vermicomposting journey today and experience the magic of turning waste into gold with your own worm farm!
What to Do with Used Coffee Grounds? (Re)Using Spent Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer
Grounds from your coffee are organic matter. So instead of throwing these away after use, you may just put some in your indoor or outdoor worm composting bin (whether you’re into raising and breeding nightcrawler or red worms) and use them as a composting method.
Don’t let their moody dark brown color confuse you – the effects of coffee grounds are numerous. Not only are you providing nourishment to your composting worms, but you’re also helping mother nature experience a garbage-less environment. Scientific studies also show that they act as a natural pesticide and even have antibacterial properties.
So you can imagine this as being a better alternative to landfill accumulation.
So, Do Worms like Coffee Grounds?
If you’re wondering: “Will worms eat coffee grounds?” Yes, worms do enjoy some instant coffee pick-up! Why do worms like coffee grounds, you might ask? Well, worms need protein to survive, and they likely get some of it from eating the bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa that naturally occur in the soil alongside organic matter like yard clippings, leaves, and food scraps.
So, when you add coffee beans rich in nitrogen to your garden or diy vermicomposting bin — they become very happy! The nitrogen helps them grow larger faster and concentrate their waste for better soil enrichment.
Do Worms like Used or Unused Coffee Grounds?
Both used and unused coffee grounds can be used as a food source in vermicomposting. However, used coffee grounds have a lower acidity level than fresh ones, making them a better option for vermicomposting.
Fresh coffee grounds can also be used, but they should be added sparingly and combined with other high-nitrogen materials to counteract their acidity.
How Much Coffee Grounds Should I Add?
The amount of ground coffee you should add to your vermicompost depends on various factors such as the size of your worm bin, its composition (ratio of plant material vs. organic matter), the amount of worms you’ve got, and whether you’re using spent or fresh coffee grounds. It’s best to start with small amounts to see how your worms will react, then work around that.
As a general rule, coffee grounds should not make up more than 1/8th of your bedding material or compost, as excessive amounts could result in too much acidity. It’s best to spread them in thin layers over large areas or mix them into other compost materials first before spreading small amounts of coffee grounds throughout your bin or beds.
Are Coffee Grounds Acidic? Can Coffee Grounds Acidify Your soil?
When using spent coffee grounds as fertilizer, you need to consider the quantity that you will put into the composter, as too much of these can come out too acidic for your worm bin and may eventually harm or burn your worms later on (worms have susceptible skins, thus, their need to be in moist surroundings at all times).
So, coffee grounds should be added in moderation, as the acid in coffee beans can lower the pH level of the compost, making it inhospitable to some types of worms and harming them.
However, if things ever get out of hand and the worm bedding itself gets too acidic, you can always put in some crushed egg shells to help neutralize the system or change the bedding and restart, so you don’t lose your little helpers.You can always save the bedding that you take out for future bedding material for your worms when you harvest the castings/compost.
How to Use Coffe Grounds for Vermicomposting
Coffee grounds are typically dry in texture, so you might want to have these soaked in some chlorine-free hot water first (you can also try using some rainwater). This way, you’re not contaminating the grounds with any chemicals. You can then use wet coffee grounds as a liquid fertilizer and sprinkle some into the bedding. The worm bedding will be able to absorb this and become nutritive worm food.
Since compost worms also eat their bedding, you can still supplement them with some coffee (in its liquid form) when you pour some on top of it. If you happen to be using grounds from flavored or decaffeinated coffee, it shouldn’t be a problem. Your vermicomposting worms will be able to eat these since they are still recyclable, organic material. It’s definitely safe for your worms to eat (if humans can, why can’t they, right?).
You can even compost paper coffee filters, too, as they are biodegradable! So, don’t be afraid to feed some to your worms and enrich your soil with coffee grounds. It will definitely be a good addition to their diet.
How to Store Used Coffee Grounds?
Storing used coffee grounds is not just a matter of putting them in a container and forgetting about them – it’s an opportunity to be creative, save money, and make a positive impact on the environment!
Start by repurposing an old coffee container or mason jar. Then, collect your used coffee grounds in this container and keep it in a dry, cool place. As the container fills up, you’ll have a wealth of nutrients at your fingertips that you can use for gardening, vermicomposting, and other projects.
Necessary Considerations & Tips Before Adding Coffee Grounds to Your Vermicompost
Organic matter like the delicious coffee needs oxygen to decompose properly. So, make sure you turn your compost piles regularly with tools such as shovels or pitchforks to ensure aeration. Also, be sure to break up large clumps before applying around plants if you plan on doing so directly since large chunks left piled high can affect soil moisture levels and respiratory processes within the earthworm population inhabiting those areas.
Additionally, bear in mind that they take longer than most nitrogen-rich fertilizers to decompose – so avoid adding large volumes at once lest they overwhelm your worm population with carbon dioxide levels instead of letting them enjoy the positive effects of coffee grounds!
Enrich Your Soil with Coffee Ground Vermicompost
Think of it this way: each time you have a cup of fresh or instant coffee, you’re creating a valuable resource that can enrich the soil and help your plants grow. With a little bit of effort, you can turn your morning cup of coffee ritual into a sustainable habit that benefits the environment, your worm farm, and your garden.
So, why not kill two birds with one stone? Start storing your used coffee grounds today and use them for vermicomposting! Your worms and plants will thank you.